Ivan Morris : Ballybunion Ladies lose out in Fourball Championship at Royal Tara

Ivan Morris

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Ivan Morris Column – Championships to be aligned

Ivan Morris

The All Ireland final of the ILGU Revive Active Fourball Championship was concluded at Royal Tara, County Meath last weekend. This popular competition has new sponsors (Revive Active) and a new structure.

Five matches, all played to a conclusion makes more sense than four matches and a holes up format. 220 teams began the event back in April but only four reached Royal Tara - Lucan, Killymoon, Ballybunion and Portumna.

Ballybunion Team Captain, Eleanor O'Sullivan, had unerringly guided her charges safely through Munster. In the semi-final, they faced a doughty Portumna outfit winners of the AIG/ILGU All-Ireland Junior Foursomes only a week earlier but the Kerry side made it through after some stern resistance by the Galwegians.

Details: Mary Sheehy & Louise Griffin lost to Suzanne Corcoran and Mary McElroy, 3/2; Susan Gilmore and Janice O'Connell beat Claire Callanan & Brid Kelly, 3/2; Margaret McAuliffe & Lorraine Canty halved with Sinead Lohan & Carmel Cunningham; Patricia Joyce & Mary O'Donoghue beat Anita Carey & Bernie Kilmartin, 7/6; Caitriona Corrigan & Pudge O'Reilly beat Anne Fahy & Mary Madden, 2/1.

The final could hardly have been any closer. Unfortunately, Ballybunion came out on the wrong side in the vital and decisive top match on the 20th hole against Killymoon, one of Ireland's oldest and most famous clubs seeking its first green pennant.

It was a sad end to a great campaign by a wonderful team of wine-attired warriors. None more so than Mary Sheehy seeking her third All Ireland this season.

Details: Mary Sheehy & Louise Griffin lost to Diane McIvor & Avril Marshall at 20th; Susan Gilmore and Janice O'Connell lost to Carmel Hagen & Catherine Irwin, 4/3; Margaret McAuliffe & Lorraine Canty beat Heather Campbell & Donna Mulholland, 2/1; Patricia Joyce & Mary O'Donoghue lost to Kathryn Kerr & Colleen Conway, 2-holes; Caitriona Corrigan & Pudge O'Reilly beat Anne McMahon & Kate Lennon, 3/1.

Golf 's Many Positive Side Effects

A RECENT report commissioned by England Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association found that the positive, social benefits of golf extend far beyond the tee and green. Volunteers at all levels gain as much from their involvement as the most diligent of practitioners. I have no idea how such enormous figures are worked out but some economist somewhere has obviously been extremely busy.

New research into the social value generated by golf identifies that volunteering accounts for a fifth (20%) of the overall benefits for society. With an average of 88-hours given up per unpaid helper every year, volunteering is responsible for £359.18 million out of the £1,800.06 million rewards created by the sport of golf in the UK. It would be somewhat similar in Ireland relatively speaking, of course, still big money!

What’s more, the study has shown that the positive side effects of volunteering are two-fold. Not only can individuals boost their own personal wellbeing but their in-kind input also adds social capital to the organization they donate their time to.

With a further £178.8 million coming from the social capital associated with volunteering, unpaid golf participation accounts for nearly a third (29.9%) of the total (£537.98 million) benefits to society from the sport.

Volunteering has long been acknowledged within golf but the new report ensures the position of the 50,000 estimated golf volunteers across England is fully recognised.

Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf, said: “We have had a strategy in place for a few years directly addressing the needs and requirements of volunteers and this report highlights not only that our policies are working but if anything, the work they do needs to be further recognized.

“Whilst people are increasingly aware of the benefits of regular sports participation, this study demonstrates that volunteering can be just as important in terms of social value.

“From spending more time outside in beautiful countryside to being part of a team, this latest research showcases how the feel-good factor of investing your spare time in something you love can also bring wellbeing to your larger community. It really is a win-win situation.”

Golf volunteering can take many forms in both the recreational and professional game. Recreationally, volunteers undertake a wide range of roles at club, regional and national levels. These can range from being club captain to an event organizer, squad manager and team captain, referee, junior organizer, fund-raiser and administrator, to name just a few.

For the professional game, it is the volunteers that make the international tours and championships the success they are both in terms of the experiences of players and fans but also the fundraising and charitable donations as a result.

Those volunteers who donate their time to golf organizations and clubs are vital in safeguarding a healthy future for the game and while they aren't paid, the sense of satisfaction and comradeship that comes from volunteering boosts personal happiness and mental health.

Words of the Wise

Many poor golf courses are made in an endeavour to eliminate the element of luck. You can no more eliminate luck in golf than you can in cricket, and in neither case is it possible to punish every bad shot. If you succeeded in doing so you would not only make both games uninteresting and no one would want to play them – Alister Mackenzie.